NYC Follows France in Requiring Proof of Vaccination for Moviegoers

AMC Lincoln Square. Photo courtesy National CineMedia

New York City will be the first city in the United States to require proof of vaccination for moviegoers. As cases of the highly contagious delta variant multiply across the country, Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced that proof of vaccination will be required to access local indoor venues, such as restaurants, gyms, and entertainment destinations including movie theaters. The policy will begin to be implemented later this month and will be in full effect by mid-September. 

“The Key to NYC Pass will be a first-in-the-nation approach,” said de Blasio in a press conference on Tuesday. “It will require vaccination for workers and customers in indoor dining, indoor fitness facilities, and indoor entertainment facilities. This is going to be a requirement. The only way to patronize these establishments indoors, will be if you’re vaccinated—at least one dose. The same for folks in terms of work, they’ll need at least one dose. This is crucial, because we know that this will encourage a lot more vaccination.”

Details of the plan, such as medical exemptions or access for children under the minimum age for vaccination have yet to be announced. The measure is intended to encourage vaccinations as the city continues its reopening plans through the fall.

Vaccine passports have already been voluntarily implemented by a different array of businesses throughout the city, such as baseball stadiums, Broadway theaters, and select fitness studios. 

In France, a proof of vaccination or negative PCR test is required for adults attending cinemas and cultural institutions with over 50 attendees as of July 21. The policy was widely criticized by French exhibitors and distributors alike, who claim cinemas were forced to adopt the measures with little warning weeks before bars and restaurants are being asked to comply. 

“Yes, French cinemas will adopt vaccine passports, but it should be under the same conditions and timeframe as others,” says Richard Patry, head of the FNCF, France’s cinema trade body

Industry associations in the country are now asking for additional government aid to counteract the resulting drop in box office revenues due to the vaccine requirement’s early implementation in cinemas, with individual films dropping between fifty to seventy percent in ticket sales since the policy was implemented.

Complicating matters further for French moviegoers is the lack of clarity around the measure. Cinemas can choose to circumvent the policy by restricting capacity in any given auditorium to less than 50 people. Masks are now optional in any auditorium that requires proof of vaccination or a negative test, but the country’s top circuits have nevertheless kept that particular safety measure in place. This divergent set of rules has sown confusion among moviegoers in France, contributing to the resulting decline in attendance.

News Stories